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Emily Rea'18 Named Semifinalist in Broadcom MASTERS®

This honor placed her among a select group of 300 semifinalists named from more than 6,000 nominees throughout the country.

Emily’s journey began at the Chester District Science Fair in March 2014. Her research focused on effective treatments of chronic wounds in Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) patients, comparing different antibacterial solutions on the staphylococcus bacteria. EB is an inherited connective tissue disease in which the top layer and the second layer of the skin are not connected correctly. Those affected with EB get blisters and tears on their skin from minor friction or trauma, making their skin extremely fragile. Patients with the most serious cases need extensive care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Her project, Wound Care Wonders, focused on raising awareness about EB and Debra, The Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America. After connecting with the executive director of Debra, Brett Kopelan, Emily was inspired to dive deeply into the world of EB. But instead of trying to find a cure, Emily’s focus is on trying to make life more comfortable for EB patients, while helping their wounds heal faster. To gain more research and lab experience, Emily works in the Boyd Lab at Rutgers University with Professor Jeffrey Boyd and his graduate fellows.

Emily’s project qualified for a Broadcom Master nomination by being selected as one of the top five research investigations of the 2014 Chester Science Fair. Additionally, the project's focus on wound care won the first prize award from the New Jersey Nursing Association. Emily said she was truly honored and excited to be selected.

“I hope to continue working with Debra and EB researchers to improve the quality of life for all EB kids by researching advancements in wound care while others work on a cure,” she said. “After college, I would like to become a pediatric plastic surgeon and orphan disease researcher.”

Additionally, having the opportunity to work with Dr. Boyd at Rutgers enabled Emily to feel more prepared for her time at IHA.

“I was able to run several different trials on the effectiveness of hypochlorous versus hypochlorite acid on different bacteria,” she said. “I learned a great deal about the scientific method, laboratory procedures, and biological and chemical terminology that will assist me in being successful in IHA’s STEM program.”

Additionally, Emily said she was thrilled to be selected for the STEM@theheart program.

“I know my fellow STEM classmates and the faculty will further my scientific knowledge so I can continue to research ways to help EB kids.”